HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Vatican has granted its official blessing to a proposed West Virginia hospital acquisition, the last step needed before the transaction could be finalized.

The Pallotine Missionary Sisters announced Monday in a joint statement from the health care facilities that the acquisition of St. Mary’s Medical Center by Cabell Huntington Hospital was approved by the Vatican, which was needed for it to move forward.

News outlets report St. Mary’s will retain its name and remain a Catholic-affiliated health care facility after ownership is transferred.

Years of litigation ended when Steel of West Virginia and Cabell Huntington agreed Steel of West Virginia would withdraw its challenges to the hospital’s planned acquisition.

Steel of West Virginia backed off when Cabell Huntington promised to work with area businesses to improve overall workforce health and reduce incidents of hospitalization.